About 26,000 animals are now quarantined in southeastern Alberta as testing for bovine tuberculosis continues.
Testing should be finished by early January, said Dr. Harpeet Kochhar, chief veterinary officer at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Dec. 7.
About 50 premises are quarantined, including five in Saskatchewan.
Animals that react to skin tests are to be humanely slaughtered, and further examination will be undertaken to see if they are diseased. No reactors have shown any signs of tuberculosis, so the CFIA is cautiously optimistic that the disease has not spread.
Two facilities have agreed to take the cattle where line speeds are slowed down to facilitate more detailed inspections at post mortem.
All the farms remain under quarantine.
“The reactors have not been completely destroyed through humane slaughter, so we are not at the point where any of those quarantines can be released,” he said.
Compensation teams are meeting with producers to provide additional information on claims and potential help.
The federal disaster program Agri Recovery offered $16.7 million on Nov. 30 to help cover the costs of feed and additional infrastructure needed for feeding and watering.
During the Alberta Beef Producers annual meeting in Calgary Dec. 5-7, the issue of compensation and animal care was discussed.
A resolution asked the organization to work with the CFIA to ensure compensation reflects the interruption of business for the length of the quarantine until ensuing restrictions are lifted.
Brad Osadczuk of Jenner, Alta., who owned the original infected animal, stands to lose about 1,200 cows and said the current compensation model or Agri-Recovery funds are not adequate to cover all 50 farms affected in this situation.
As winter sets in with temperatures at -20 C with high wind chills, efforts are still underway to find a feedlot to hold cattle.
“We are still waiting for the industry to identify a specific site that can be used for this purpose,” Kochhar said.